The $0.99 Car Chase Scene

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , ,

The movie audio industry has astronomically excelled in innovation and methodologies in the past decades.  There are so many options available to record, obtain, create, and implement audio into movies these days.  Turn the audio off in a movie and you have nothing!  It creates emotion, realism, and so much more.  So what happens when the audio is wrong?  What happens when the sound guys take the easy way out?  Well some of the audience may be oblivious, but for others with a keen ear, a movie’s reputation can be ruined.

Have you seen the movie Drive?  While the reviews may be good, anyone who was expecting driving was disappointed.  Now I won’t get into the fact that a 360 horsepower, 4,050 pound Chrysler 300C was effectively keeping up with a 412 horsepower 3,600 pound Mustang, but I will get into the audio of the Mustang in question.

Die hard Ford fans will right away be able to tell that the engine sound used for the 5.0 V8 of the Mustang was not correct.  This, and other things, killed the movie for me.  When I got home I had this feeling as if I had seen that chase before.  Maybe I had heard it before?  Turns out I had.

A while back I was stocking up on some cheap audio libraries to build up my collection when I came across this album on iTunes called Pedal to the Metal – The Sounds of Fast Cars.  Sure enough, the track named “Ford Cobra / Drive Fast” was the audio used for the Mustang in the movie Drive.   Yes: A $0.99 track.  Ninety-nine cents.  The movie lost all credibility to me when this “great chase scene” used a $0.99 cent track.

Found in the album "Pedal to the Metal"

Should we give them the benefit of the doubt? Maybe. Last time I checked, any vehicle has only one reverse gear.  Near the end of the chase scene, when Gosling is driving in reverse, you can hear the car change gears multiple times.  Considering the one minute and two second clip they used didn’t have too many wide open throttle sections, I guess we can’t blame them for finding a couple extra reverse gears right?

While it is hard to place exactly, after listening to the three tire skid tracks in the album, they seem to fit certain skids in the chase scene.  Most likely one of the Chrysler sounds is one of the BMW tracks as well.   So perhaps they spent closer to four dollars on this chase.  Now I know the audio team usually gets funding last, but for a 15 million dollar film, I would have expected a little bit more “respectable” audio.